Christian Commitment and Intellectual Inquiry

Be sure to check our Dr. Dockery's (Presdient of Union University) BP article on Christian Commitment and Intellectual Inquiry. It is an excellent piece and demonstrates why so many good things are happening at Union.

Being a faithful Christian university will involve much more than mere piety or spirituality, which by itself will not sustain the idea of a Christian university. The Christian intellectual tradition calls for rigorous Christian thinking in all areas, as historically exemplified in the work of Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Bernard of Clairveaux, Erasmus, Luther, Calvin, Kepler, Edwards, Kuyper, Broadus and others. This tradition confesses the sovereignty of the triune God over the whole cosmos, in all spheres and kingdoms, visible and invisible.

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Our choice is not to be faithful to our Baptist heritage or to be participants in the academy. It is not an unquestioning acceptance of the Christian tradition or open-ended inquiry. Certainly the unquestioning acceptance of tradition can degenerate into traditionalism. Yale historian Jaroslav Pelikan was fond of claiming that if tradition is the living faith of the dead, then traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Such traditionalism is often characterized by inflexible and at times anti-intellectual dogma at every point and in every discipline. This approach fails to engage our society or influence our culture.

On the other hand, free inquiry, untethered to faith and tradition, often results in unbelieving skepticism, advancing the directionless state that characterizes so much of higher education today. Such an approach cannot sustain the Christian tradition and its truth claims. Neither of these approaches represents the best of Christian higher education.

Our unique calling is not to be forced into inappropriate “either/or” choices, but to be appropriately “both/and” as proclaimed in the motto: “religio et eruditio.”

Check it out here.